According to Flusser, two fundamental turning points can be observed in human culture; firstly the invention of linear writing, secondly the invention of technical images. With writing began linear thought, and the notion that there is a past and a future — something before now, which will never return, and something which follows. In other words, images are abstractions of reality. The ability to abstract surfaces out of space and time and to project them back into space and time is what we call imagination and is an essential human quality, according to Flusser. But on the other hand: if we forget that we created images for better orientation in the world, if we lose our ability to decode the images, our lives will instead become a function of images, and our imagination in stead turns into a form of hallucination.
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Shelves: non-fiction , best-reads-of Brief. According to Flusser, were caught, it seems, in a Kafkaesque condition of non-freedom, swallowed up so to speak by our apparatuses.
He describes two historical paradigm shifts: the invention of writing, which he situates in the second millennium BCE and the invention of photography in the 19th century. He states that the first humans were surrounded by their tools; then, as a consequence of the Industrial Revolution, humans began to surround their machines; finally, after the Brief. He states that the first humans were surrounded by their tools; then, as a consequence of the Industrial Revolution, humans began to surround their machines; finally, after the invention of photography, humans came to reside within their image-making apparatuses, inside the thoroughly programmed and programmable black boxes of their cameras shorthand for all systems that self-program by means of feedback.
Flusser depicts information technologies that produce redundant and non-original images, as well as political and economic systems that are themselves apparatuses, as entities that use humans for their own evolution and success rather than vice versa. Flusser also brings to mind Foucault in the sense that his philosophy allows for only the most elusive and problematic possibility of human agency. Unfortunately, Flusser provides neither a definition of nor specific examples of such experimental photography.
While writing revolutionized humanity and marked the beginning of the historical period, photography, and its new coding and symbolization of the information, make the post-history, with equally revolutionary developments, developers and modifiers of humanity.
He has glimpsed the magical ability of a photographic image could destroy the one-dimensional feature, linear, of the texts. Not only photos but also videos and other electronic media are co-responsible for this post-historical revolution. We have been living witnesses that, in recent years, images have ceased to be mere text illustrations, to become the protagonists of the media. They submitted the texts to a supplementary or secondary role.
This phenomenon enhanced by two important aspects, closely linked to the photo: ease of use and availability of the photographic apparatus and distribution capacity and access to the photographic information. These ideas are explored in great detail in the book that I find extremely interesting to read and think about. Highly recomended.
A multitude of quips, without thought, or little consistency with what he has said before or will say in the next sentence.
Towards a Philosophy of Photography